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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

It's been so long
and winter has given way to spring

When we were in week 2 of Portland, my girlfriend Corrie came from Bellingham, WA to be with Ruby, Noa and I while Justin and Emmaus took my sister back for her flight in Spokane. It was God's gracious timing. Now I look back at all the friends/family that were able to meet Noa and its very sweet to share that with them. 
When Corrie returned home, she wrote a song in memory of that time that she calls, "O For Grace". She posted it on UTube for me to see and here's the link if you'd like to listen: Click Here .

I don't know why I've broken this long silence with Corrie's song. Because I love it. It can stir my heart when I feel far removed from those days.

In Portland for 'Remembrance'
I've been thinking and keeping notes on what to say if I ever decided to update the blog. I have been impressed with so many moms out there that have continued to open their hearts and lives in their blogs during the grieving process. And its actually been helpful to me to read them at different times (especially this one: click here to see her blog).

So- on to the update! 
4 years old...her birthday spanned a week!
Since January...Emmaus and Ruby have both celebrated birthdays! In February Emmaus turned '2' and in April, Ruby turned '4'. They are so so cute and definetely living up to all the claims that those ages hold. Ruby is vivacious and animated and curious. She has lots of energy and is matched perfectly by Emmaus who loves to run and wrestle and... pester Ruby! 
Emmaus is so funny and independent, yet super timid at other times. He still isn't much of a talker (calls Ruby, "Raa!") but very strong and stable on his feet. He just started climbing the monkey bars at the park, and he regularly has skinned knees (and at the moment, a skinned up face)! Emmaus is mischevious in a way Ruby never was. Twice yesterday he unlocked the door and the deadbolt and went out front without my knowledge. Thank God for mother's intuition he wasn't out there too long! I have to keep an eye on him. He'll color on the wall and all over himself in seconds. 
Ruby is finishing up preschool at Southside Christian. It has been a perfect experience for her... and I love that some foundational truths have been reinforced there ("...hear the Word of God and obey it..." are words to a song she's learned there). 

Birthday bike
Spring and Summer finally came. It felt like the grey and cold would never end...and you hear that from even the long time locals. It's just part of living in Spokane! But when the weather does break, it's like healing to your soul that the winter wounded. Within weeks the trees are green and flowers are blooming and all the windows in the house are open. Its been nice to fill up the kiddy pool in the back and sit in the sun. 

My fingerprint with Noa's name
A couple of months ago, I started going to GriefShare classes (which are ran out of local churches all over the US. I highly recommend it!). I decided to go because I felt like life was going on as normal but I knew everything wasn't normal. It may have been because I spend a majority of my time at home with the kids and there wasn't the 'emotional room' to grieve everyday and also care for the kids. I wasn't able to be available (or present) to I decided I needed to set aside time for Noa, and thus, the classes. It has been so good. It's help put parameters on what I'm experiencing and how it might be different in the light of our situation. It also has given some makers of growth and typical areas people might get 'stuck'. And they just do a good job of covering many areas a grieving person will encounter. The first class I went to dealt with how family members grieve differently...and it brought deeper assurance that Justin not attending the class with me was ok...even good. And honestly....more than anything, that has been the theme of these classes. I leave each session absolutely convinced again that God has been holding our hands in this whole journey. I think at different times, Justin and I have been almost guilty for how well we're doing.  We are grieving...but we're also ok.
It wasn't too long after Noa's death I was reading the Bible and I felt so strong that God was encouraging me that Psalm 139 was for her, especially verses 14-16 where it says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, that God sees us being formed in our mothers womb...he sees our 'unformed substance', and in His book are written all the days that were formed for us, even before we are born. And I knew that God was not surprised by her CDH or any day that she lived from conception to death. He had a just takes time for our hearts and minds to trust ourselves to that...even if we don't understand why.
Awesome nurses we got to see while in Portland

Last month we returned to Portland to attend a 'Remembrance Service' for all the babies/children that had been cared for at Emanuel Children's Hospital and passed away. Justin and I both didn't know what to expect at the service, or even what we wanted from our time...but we didn't want to go just to say, "goodbye" or to try and receive closure to move on. 

It took me a little while to process it, but I finally realized that, as Christians, we have hope still! And that's what we were feeling. Our grieving doesn't look like the 'worlds' and this life isn't the end. We will see Noa again. God is good and loving and wonderful and has good reasons for what happens to all of us for whatever length of time we are here (apply Psalm 139!). And Noa's life wasn't a tragedy (though it feels like it) or a mistake... it truly was God's gift to us, a privilege to be her mom and dad...our little bird. I still miss her and want her. Anyone who's lost someone they love knows how that feels. 

SOOOO, That is most of it, but not all... just 13 days we hit our 2 year mark of when we left California for Washington. 
What a roller-coaster it has been!!! Wow, I have learned so much. It has honestly been one of the toughest seasons of my life...and I am sitting here crying because I am positive God has so many beautiful lessons woven in the numerous struggles I've walked through. Some I am still unaware of. From high pressure comes beautiful things like diamonds and pearls...worship. And I wouldn't trade it in for anything less. And in a way, I feel a sense of relief coming and an end to season because... just 15 days, we will be moving back to California.
I am so looking forward to smelling the ocean, hiking my favorite mountains with Justin and my babes (and smelling like sage) and being near my mom and sisters and brother in laws...neicies and nephews. It feels like a gift...I think it really is. Thank you Jesus. Justin and I didn't push hard to make it happen. It really unfolded before us and we are pleased to return. It isn't a bitter departure from Spokane...just a sweet return to home. 

Montana de' Oro...a favorite hike
Hills of gold